Sunday, December 27, 2009

Daring Bakers: Scandinavian Gingerbread House - Pepparkakstuga

Scandinavian Gingerbread House - Pepparkakstuga (02) by MeetaK 

It was all about Hansel and Gretel in Soeren’s class this December. They studied the story, the characters and the grand finale was going to the Weimar Theatre to watch the fairy tale as an opera. He’s enjoyed the project very much and therefore, it was inevitable that when I saw what the Daring Bakers’ challenge was to be this year that we incorporate the tale into it.

I have to admit though I was missing the initial motivation for the challenge. We’ve been making gingerbread houses for Christmas for the past two years, using a brilliant recipe from one of Tom’s grandmother’s old cookbooks. The old cookbook is ancient but the recipe is perfect. It incorporates orange zest and other spices for an aromatic dough. Early December though I was just coming down from the London high and not in the total Christmas spirit yet.

It’s hard avoiding the Christmas spirit when one has a seven year old at home. His eyes gleaming each morning as he opened his advents calendar and counted down to Christmas. Soon enough his excitement was infectious and soon I began thinking up of ideas to realize the gingerbread house.

The December 2009 Daring Bakers’ challenge was brought to you by Anna of Very Small Anna and Y of Lemonpi. They chose to challenge Daring Bakers’ everywhere to bake and assemble a gingerbread house from scratch. They chose recipes from Good Housekeeping and from The Great Scandinavian Baking Book as the challenge recipes.

Scandinavian Gingerbread House - Pepparkakstuga (03) by MeetaK

I decided to go with Y’s Scandinavian gingerbread house recipe, simply because for those who know me a little will know that almost everything Scandinavian attracts and intrigues me, especially this! ;o)

Seriously though, the Scandinavian recipe promised to be winner using many of the similar spices from my tried and tested German recipe.

However, we did have some trouble with the dough. It was hard, very crumbly and needed to be moistened quite a bit to allow us to really work with it. We halved the recipe for a small house and our theme was Hansel and Gretel. We finally did manage to roll out the dough enough to get us some decent templates – a base, two triangles for the front and the back and two rectangles to make up the gabled walls. We made some of the royal icing but mainly used melted chocolate to stick the parts together. Dried coconut gave the snow effect and we tiled the roof with colorful chocolate disks and pink colored royal icing. My neighbor made the lovely figures for the house – thanks D!

Scandinavian Gingerbread House - Pepparkakstuga

From The Great Scandinavian Baking Book by Beatrice Ojakangas

Printable version of recipe here

Ingredients

1 cup (225 g) butter, room temperature
1 cup (220 g) brown sugar, well packed
2 tablespoons cinnamon
4 teaspoons ground ginger
3 teaspoons ground cloves
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ cup boiling water
5 cups (625 g) all-purpose flour, more if needed

Method

  1. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar until blended. Add the cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Mix the baking soda with the boiling water and add to the dough along with the flour. Mix to make a stiff dough. If necessary add more water, a tablespoon at a time. Chill 2 hours or overnight.

  2. Draw and cut patterns for the house, making patterns for the roof, front walls, gabled walls, chimney and door out of cardboard.

  3. Roll the dough out on a large, ungreased baking sheet and place the patterns on the dough. Mark off the various pieces with a knife, but leave the pieces in place.

  4. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).

  5. Roll out the dough a little at a time on a floured work surface to a thickness of approximately 1/8-inch. Place the templates on the dough and, using a sharp knife, cut around the templates. Transfer the pieces to cookie sheets lined with parchment paper.

  6. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes until the cookie dough feels firm. After baking, again place the pattern on top of the gingerbread and trim the shapes, cutting the edges with a straight-edged knife. Leave to cool on the baking sheet.

Royal Icing

1 large egg white
3 cups (330g) powdered sugar
1 teaspoon white vinegar
1 teaspoon almond extract

  1. Beat all ingredients until smooth, adding the powdered sugar gradually to get the desired consistency.

  2. Pipe on pieces and allow to dry before assembling. If you aren't using it all at once you can keep it in a small bowl, loosely covered with a damp towel for a few hours until ready to use. You may have to beat it slightly to get it an even consistency if the top sets up a bit. Piped on the house, this will set up hard over time.

 


Verdict

Scandinavian Gingerbread House - Pepparkakstuga (01) by MeetaK

We have not broken into the house yet so we cannot give the taste verdict. However, as most gingerbread houses are usually made to last instead of being delectable I presume this one will be no different. It does smell awesome though – of spices, coconut and sugar. Unlike other Scandinavian favorites this recipe was not too hot and next year we’ll be using our old German “Lebkuchenhaus” recipe again.

Hope you all had a grand Christmas and are enjoying filled bellies from delicious meals.

MMBadge-Jan2010

Monthly Mingle – Winter Vegetables & Fruit

My guest hostess this month is Sudeshna of Cook Like A Bong. She has chosen a great seasonal theme for the next mingle which will take us into the new year - Winter Vegetables and Fruit.

The choice is great - avocado, broccoli, cauliflower, sweet potatoes, citrus fruit, pears, spinach or beans. The task is easy – cook up something using Winter produce and join us at the mingle.

Deadline January 11th, 2010!

You might like these past Daring Bakers’ challenges from WFLH:

Caramel Cake with Caramel Butter Frosting Danish Braid - Chocolate & Raspberries Chocolate Caramel Tart

 


All photographs and written content on What's For Lunch, Honey? © 2006-2009 Meeta Khurana unless otherwise indicated. | All rights reserved | Please Ask First

60 comments :

  1. Looks wonderful! I tried Anna recipe and it did turn out good. Do have a look.

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  2. Wonderful gingerbread house. The last time I made a complete gingerbread house is years ago.

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  3. Your house is so precious Meeta!! I absolutely love it!

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  4. Oh, that is such a pretty house! I love the cute decorations! Stunning!

    Best wishes for 2010!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  5. Stunning work..but then thats always the case!

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  6. what a nice house!! I like the hansel and gretel theme. I would live in a house like that :)

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  7. So beautiful! I haven't yet finished mine but hope to soon. I have enough dough left to make something else, and I love the shape of this one.

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  8. Meeta this is a work of art! amazing.

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  9. Lovely looking gingerbread meeta :)..

    Siri

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  10. Happy holidays Meeta! Love the Hansel and Gretel theme and that you used chocolate and coconut for mortar and snow...will have to try that! Your house is beautiful and the friend's fairy tale figures very charming!

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  11. This is absolutely wonderful! I love how you decorated the roof, and the little figurines look adorable with it. Lovely job!

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  12. Absolutely Wonderful Meeta! That house looks so pretty and if I were Hansel, I would definitely break off parts of the roof!!

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  13. How gorgeous!! It really reminds me of the house in Hansel and Gretel!

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  14. One of my son's favorite fairy tales.Love the chocolate and coconut on icing,very pretty :D

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  15. The gingerbread house is so beautiful! I never had the guts to make one. I always lose patience.

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  16. Meeta,
    Thanks a lot for putting up the event announcement in your blog.
    The house looks so beautiful. Absolutely loved it. BUt didn't get the idea, why you baked the templates again.

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  17. Aww! I love the Hansel and Gretel theme.

    Paz

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  18. Such a beautiful and elegant Gingerbread..

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  19. Your house is so so beautiful Meeta! Love the people and the colors!!!

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  20. That is so cute! I love the figurines too. Oh, and I haven't eaten mine either - couldn't bring myself to. Although, I did nibble on quite a few scraps!

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  21. Wow your gingerbread house is just adorable. Love how you used coconut for a snow effect.

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  22. Your house looks so pretty, Meeta. I also thought about Hansel & Gretel when I saw this challenge. :)

    Happy Holidays and Best Wishes For A Happy New Year!

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  23. The house is too cute to eat! I could'n break it.

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  24. As always, you did a wonderful job! I love the snow. It's so gorgeous! I bought coconut for snow on my house, but I didn't end up using it for some reason. After seeing yours, I think that next time (if there is a next time!) I'll do that! And I love your neighbor's people - are they marzipan?

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  25. Wish I were half as talented as you Meeta! This looks just stunning.

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  26. Oh my gosh, Meeta! That house is spectacular! It's funny because when I was a kid I loved the story of Hansel and Gretel so much! Lovely!

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  27. How fun to incorporate Hansel and Gretel into your house! It looks fantastic, and I love the details =D.

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  28. Of course it's completely gorgeous! Your persistence with the dough certainly paid off.

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  29. It is gorgeous Meeta! I love the decorations! I bet your son loved it! I agree, I love all things Scandinavian - have been doing quite a bit of Norwegian cooking during the holiday season! Happy New Year to you and yours!

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  30. Looks wonderful.. Loved the coconut idea for snow.. need to remember this for next year :)

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  31. Meeta, this is beautiful, I think it might be my favourite DB gingerbread house yet. I like the little people, they give it character!
    I am starting DB in January, wish I'd signed up a month earlier as I would have loved to have done of these.

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  32. Very festive gingerbread house, Meeta.
    And the Cheshire Cat has sneaked in too. ;)

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  33. This is a really beautiful house! Congratulations! I hope it helped you enjoyed the Holiday season even more... and maybe plan a trip to Scandinavia?

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  34. it's wonderful--i love it!! i wonder if hansel and gretel know what they're in for! happy new year!

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  35. I just think your gingerbread house is adorable Meeta! I think the template you used it kind of cute, rather then the standard more square version and those little figures are a wonderful addition. I do have to have your original recipe though!!

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  36. That is absolutely gorgeous! So glad you found the motivation for it!

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  37. What a great house. It is near to perfect, if not perfect.

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  38. How cute. Melted chocolate sounds far tastier than royal icing. Best wishes for the new year.

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  39. This is so adorable. Love the coconut snow. Why didn't I think of that!

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  40. What a georgous, festive & ooh so lovely gingerbread house, Meeta!!

    MMMMMMMMM,...Happy Holidays!!

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  41. That's beautiful, Meeta! "Piparkoogimajad" are popular here, too, though I skipped this year. Next year, when Nora is bigger :)

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  42. How cute is that! Turned out fabulous!

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  43. Such a gorgeous house! Happy New Year.

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  44. I just love how sweet your house is! I love the little family in front and the chocolate with the coconut is a great idea! :)

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  45. Your gingerbread house is wonderful!! I love the coconut snow and the figures outside are adorable! This looks different from the others, very unique!! I bet it tastes great too, especially with all the chocolate and coconut.

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  46. Meeta, adorable. I love the theme that you created here. I used the same recipe, and loved the flavour. How wonderful your neighbour made the figurines. Very clever!

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  47. What can I say! Your gingerbread house is absolutely adorable.

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  48. Hansel and Gretel was one of my favorite tales as a child - so this post really brought a smile to my face. It is gorgeous - truly inspired!

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  49. Meeta, I'm so awed by your house, and your neighbor's little figurines are adorable, stunning and are a perfect fit with your gorgeous house! Amazing job and wishing you and yours a Happy New Year!

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  50. Gorgeous Meeta....as always. Have a blessed season

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  51. thanks everyone for all our grand comments. it makes me laugh to think i had not motivation for this challenge at the beginning of the month! in the end it was a lot of fun and it looks cute!

    Hugs!

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  52. Wow! It can't get more perfect than that. Your gingerbread house turned out beautiful! Happy Holidays...looking forward to 2010!

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  53. That is so beautiful! That shows that you have a great sense of creativity. I loved the innovative idea. In my terms, creativity is the utmost intelligence. I loved this wonderful gingerbread house. Wish you a very Happy New Year!

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  54. this is just the cutest gingerbread house i've seen ! i love it ! and i love the hansel & gretel project too, such fun - for soeren AND you !! i just want to pick off those chocolate non-pareils on the roof, one by one. best part is that little pretzel on top ! :) fabulous !

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  55. Hi Meeta,

    You have some marvelous gingerbread pictures! My church is having a gingerbread decorating day and I have to make an announcement for it to go in our Sunday morning power point presentation. Is it alright if I use one of your gingerbread house images as a background? We are non profit and would not use your image for commercial use.

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Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy your stay here and that I was able to make this an experience for your senses.

Hugs
Meeta